Register Forgot login?

© 2002-2021
Encyclopaedia Metallum

Best viewed
without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
or higher.

Privacy Policy

The Great Beast - 100%

HviteGuden, October 25th, 2020

The debut full-length album of legendary Celtic Frost, for which this work wasn't a debut in general. The band was called legendary for a reason, because its influence on extreme metal is just huge. And the band already released some important records before "To Mega Therion", including the ones under the name of Hellhammer. Yet "To Mega Therion" became even more important than the previous albums of the bands fronted by Tom G. Warrior. Hellhammer appeared as a raw, ugly and rough band, which was a sort of wilder, heavier and more aggressive version of Venom, with some doomy vibes. Gradually it was evolving into something completely different. "Apocalyptic Raids" was already very close to the initial form of Celtic Frost, which later was demonstrated on mini-albums "Morbid Tales" and "Emperor's Return". Then there came "To Mega Therion", which became another significant mark of progress for Celtic Frost.

Stylistically the music of "To Mega Therion" isn't much different from thrash metal of those times, despite the fact of a more frequent using of low tempo. However, the sound of "To Mega Therion" is rawer and harsher, than it has usually been in thrash metal, while it creates a darker atmosphere, which is more comparable with Venom, Bathory and early Sodom than with popular thrash metal bands of the mid 80s. That's the reason why Celtic Frost became especially influential on black metal, with which it is associated even today, even though stylistically, for example, "The Return" of Bathory is closer to the ultimate definition of black metal, while this album was released a bit earlier than "To Mega Therion", but Celtic Frost is still placed in the first wave black metal category for a reason. Also, it's very interesting, that already the debut full-length record of Celtic Frost had some quite progressive features for its genre and time, as it masterfully utilizes a French horn, although only occasionally.

The music of "To Mega Therion" is just striking. The album is absolutely holistic, while every composition of it remains memorable and extremely catchy. Tom G. Warrior provides a one killer riff after another. The album opens with an unusual composition for it, as "Innocence and Wrath" is a short instrumental, which sounds totally majestic. The riffs are slow and triumphant there, the French horn is on the first plane and it brings an atmosphere of something frightening and grandiose coming. After this composition there goes "The Usurper", with tons of energy and darkness. Since this moment the music of the release is pretty much in the same manner. The other significantly distinct part of "To Mega Therion" since the intro is a dark ambient interlude, "Tears in a Prophet's Dream". Yet how memorable are all compositions. It tells only about how remarkable the songwriting is. And Tom G. Warrior is that good not only with guitars, but also with vocals. His voice is harsh, it sounds like a kinda proto-version of growling, while Tom performs in a very charismatic manner. All those "Hey!" and "Ugh!" of him only boost the energy of the album higher.

Changes of tempo is a brilliant move. The tempo alternates in different directions. The likes of "Jewel Throne" and "Eternal Summer" start slow and eventually they demonstrate spectacular speed-ups. "Jewel Throne" is especially spectacular, when after the prolonged low-paced start the tempo wildly rises with the trademark "Ugh!" of Tom, after what the guitars provide some hellish mess. And on "Eternal Summer" the variations of tempo are more frequent. On the other hand, "Circle of the Tyrants", for instance, starts fast, but it has very catchy low-paced choruses, which sound even march-like to some extent. The level of darkness increases in these choruses. This composition is a one of the very best on "To Mega Therion". And among the other very best compositions "Dawn of Megiddo" and "Necromantical Screams" should be mentioned. Furthermore, these two tracks are the most standout on the release after the intro and the interlude. Also, those are the only compositions featuring a French horn, including "Innocence and Wrath".

"Dawn of Megiddo" starts with slow riffing, which sounds dark and even carries some suspense. The tempo doesn't go higher than mid on this composition. Slowly, but certainly the eerie riffing crawls to the choruses, where the guitars slow down even more, where the triumphant and the ominous French horn appears. It's a one of the standout episodes of "To Mega Therion", it sounds as grandiose and frightening as the opening track. "Necromantical Screams" is also variating only with low and mid-tempo. It is a one of the darkest compositions of the album as well. Once again, the French horn and the focus on low tempo are key factors for that. There are some occasional female vocals on "To Mega Therion" and exactly on "Necromantical Screams" the parts with them are especially important. Female vocals make the mysterious atmosphere of the composition more pronounced.

"To Mega Therion" is an absolutely remarkable work, a flawless one. Its title translates like "the great beast" and it's quite descriptive in terms of the album's place in the hierarchy of extreme metal. It sounds harsh, dark, majestic and very memorable. It's a one of the best releases of Celtic Frost and the most impressive Celtic Frost's record in the 20th century. It's for a reason listed among the most important works of the first wave black metal and extreme metal in whole. "To Mega Therion" is simply monumental.

The peak of Celtic Frost fame - 95%

DesecratorJ, July 19th, 2019

Basically anyone that has a minimum of knowledge in the extreme metal history knows about Celtic Frost. This band couldn't require any introduction whatsoever. Anyway, these guys have gone through a rough time to achieve some success in the underground. Starting out as Hellhammer, their music was rather low-fi with its primitive sound, it was also angry and full of hatred. They also had that grim and depressive atmosphere, especially in the "Apocalyptic Raids" EP, which I didn't like quite as much as the aggressive vibe of the "Satanic Rites" demo. Tom G Warrior and Martin Eric Ain (R.I.P.) disbanded Hellhammer after thinking they couldn't do anything else in that band anymore, thus the reason that Celtc Frost was formed and considered as their "true" band. I would not argue that it was a fine decision because the stuff released by the aforementioned band is even better and also better produced (for the time of course). After the legendary 1984 first release "Morbid Tales", the band has not even reached its peak yet, as they were about to unleash the classic reviewed here.

The famous official first full-length "To Mega Therion" of Celtic Frost was released back in late 1985. At first, what got me interested so much about this album is how beautiful the cover art is. This is exactly the kind of front cover that gets me excited to give that record a listen. With 40 minutes of material that totalize ten tracks, we have plenty of variety to discover from on how the band evolved its sound. As soon as you play this record, you get the dark and sinister ambient track called "Innocence and Wrath" that act as an introduction. It's setting you in the right mood to what is coming next, the admirable classic "The Usurper". You will obviously notice the memorable vocal tone of Tom G Warrior with his "UGHH!" and those pounding riffs that makes the music unique and different from what was going on at the time. The song structures of Celtic Frost has nearly always been fuck top, which is awesome. One good sample is "Jewel Throne", which has that heavy mid-paced main riff, but later turns into the fastest part of the whole album. The songs are very well-written in the sense that you don't get tired of listening to them mainly because of the beats and paces that change quite often.

Even though the guys from Celtic Frost has improved musically since their beginning in Hellhammer, the music is still not really technical. However, it doesn't make the music less good, in fact, the atmosphere displayed on that album is the real deal, not some fancy guitar solos. "To Mega Therion" to me is kind of separated in two sections, one being the heavier and thrashier tracks, and the other one more focused on the dark and spooky vibe touches added in the music with a French horn­. The most popular track of the band, "Circle of the Tyrants" with "Fainted Eyes" are basically killer tracks that goes straightforward in term of brutality and intensity, as well as having catchy choruses. You can also see a pretty sick doomy middle part in "Eternal Summer", even if the main sections are fast-paced. Well, when we speak of grim ambience, the instrumental "Tears in a Prophet's Dream" is one hell of a good example. This has most likely been a great influence to the music seen in some 90s black metal bands. It's honestly not the kind of track I would personally listen to often, but we cannot deny how original it is.

Musically and artistically speaking, the most interesting track to me was "Necromantical Screams". It's heavy, atmospheric, but has that doom metal vibe that fits perfectly with the vocals of Tom G Warrior. I would add that "Dawn of Megiddo" has also that kind of mood within its structure, but I still prefer the latter one mainly because of its better riffs. Production-wise, this album is near top-notch, at least for me. The guitar tone is definitely the highlight here though, despite the drums being awesome with its perfect presence on the mix. The only thing that would have benefit the album sound even more is a little more bass, other than that, I have nothing bad to say, really. This is the kind of classic records that I don't even need to recommend them at this point. If you have never listened to this album before, what are you waiting for?

Favorite tracks:

Circle of the Tyrants
Eternal Summer
Jewel Throne
Necromantical Screams

Wow. - 99%

EzraBlumenfeld, November 9th, 2017
Written based on this version: 2017, CD, Noise Records (Digibook, Reissue, Remastered)

On To Mega Therion, Swiss metallers Celtic Frost manage to take a would-be monotonous and repetitive proto-death metal record and make it memorable as well as epic. Finally recovering from the negative reception of previous project Hellhammer, guitarist, vocalist, and riffmaking genius Tom Gabriel Warrior created a metal classic in this album that will eternally be remembered for its undeniably heavy and original sound.

Warrior's vocals have a sense of raw power to them. While the lyrics are barely discernible, they are barked out in an aggressive way that would soon evolve into the guttural styles of bands like Obituary and Morbid Angel. Drummer Reed St. Mark's rhythms are percussive and hard-hitting yet simplistic, but they get the job done and they do it well. Bassists Dominic Steiner and the late great Martin Eric Ain (who played on three of the album's tracks) perfectly bridge the gap between Warrior's riffs and St. Mark's drumming. The album also features some innovative yet unconventional moments throughout, such as Wolf Bender's French horn and Claudia-Maria Mokri's operatic falsetto, both of which would help define the subgenre of avant-garde metal which Celtic Frost are often labelled.

There are a variety of stylistic variations throughout this album, with all of them doing nothing but adding to the overall appeal of the record. From the doom-laden intro song "Innocence and Wrath" to the odd mechanical clicking of "Tears In a Prophet's Dream," every song track has something to offer the metal world. "The Usurper" and "Jewel Throne" feature an original storyline written by Tom Warrior, and feature original Frost bassist Martin Ain on the recordings. Songs like "Eternal Summer" and "(Beyond The) North Winds" showcase the thrashier side of the group, while "Dawn of Megiddo" (often misspelled "Meggido") sees the trio slowing down for a darker, more haunting tune. "Circle of the Tyrants" is an extreme metal classic, having been covered by Obituary and Opeth. "Necromantical Screams" is an epic and perfect closing track, filled with Mokri's creepy falsetto. The whole album is punctuated by Warrior's grunting "ooh"s, which he uses frequently throughout the album and have been adopted by John Tardy, Chuck Schuldiner, and David Vincent.

The new remastered and reissued version of the album also features a handful of songs from the band's Emperor's Return EP as well as a remixed version, an unreleased track, and a studio jam. My personal favorites of these are "Visual Aggression" and "Suicidal Winds," although the Return version of "Circle of the Tyrants" is pretty kickass as well.

The reissue also comes with excessive and uselessly repetitive band photos, and a track-by-track review written by Xavier Russell, a guy who interviewed the band shortly after the album was released in 1985. These are pointless, as this beautiful masterpiece of an album is perfect by itself. I managed to find this on CD at my local record store for $12, and I am completely satisfied with my purchase. Sadly, Martin Eric Ain passed away shortly after; although he only played on a few of the album's tracks, he did help write quite a few more and he deserves more respect than he gets from extreme metal fans. This album is well-worth a listen from anyone who hasn't had a chance yet.

Rejoice! The end is nigh! - 97%

Valfars Ghost, May 18th, 2017

By the time Celtic Frost got around to making this album, the Swedish wrecking crew had grown an almost unbelievable amount since their Hellhammer days, which still weren’t far behind them. While it was easy to see shades of the former group in To Mega Therion, the album also demonstrated a great deal of maturation and stylistic evolution. While this release is still almost as rough and dirty as the band had always been, Frost had learned to hone its vision and fashion its rage and vigor into something primal, apocalyptic, and downright artful. Boasting an epic, sulphur-filled atmosphere of pure menace that would make Black Sabbath's ghostly muses piss themselves in fright, To Mega Therion is Celtic Frost's crowning achievement.

The fact that this release's influence on the metal scene is difficult to overstate is both obvious and well-earned. An album at least 90 times more sinister than any that came before it, To Mega Therion combines the most evil aspects of numerous subgenres, some of which were barely even in their fetal stages at the time, and distills it into a solid mass of scorching fury. Its faster riffs, like the one that crashes into you near the middle of ‘Jewel Throne’ and the one that kicks in about twenty seconds into ‘Eternal Summer’ are bombastic and deadly while its slower riffs, like the ones making up most of 'Dawn of Megiddo' ooze a tense, doom-foretelling negativity that would make Electric Wizard jealous. While, even in its fastest moments, the album never approaches the speed of, say Metallica's 'Whiplash', To Mega Therion's strength and aggression is never in question.

But this classic isn't just about sonic violence. To Mega Therion is surprisingly sophisticated on a compositional level for an album from a band that was releasing material of the utmost rawness and primitivity as Hellhammer only one year prior. While most analyses call attention to the echoes of this album's blistering riffwork that can be heard everywhere from Darkthrone to Evile and even Nirvana, To Mega Therion treats listeners to some more disciplined and classically inspired passages, certainly no less influential, from time to time. The opening track hints at this, with its mood-setting parade of doom-laden riffs reaching a new level of grandiosity with the horns and keyboard orchestration that accompanies it. The slow, moody intro to 'Dawn of Megiddo' and the ominous choir effects later on in the song both expertly build the tension and provide an air of magnificence without ever backing away from the nastiness at this album’s core. Final track ‘Necromantical Screaming’, meanwhile, perhaps takes its bizarre accompaniment to the greatest extreme, juxtaposing its slow, Sabbath-esque riffs with the sort of operatic wailing and Wagnerian phrasing that brings images of an impending Armageddon to mind.

Every performance on To Mega Therion is razor sharp. Tom's riffs are as deadly as they've ever been, no matter their speed. For the solos, he manages to get the most out of his not particularly acrobatic fingers. The solos shift back and forth between simplistic and simplistic but surprisingly ambitious, with the flashier ones often seeming like they’re just barely managing to not fly off the rails. Fully in control of the most sinister and beastly aspects of his voice, Tom barks and snarls his way through each song in a way that perfectly complements the riffs. The drums maintain a thunderous presence while the bass, though often hard to pick out, is strangely unsettling when it’s audible, especially in ‘Necromantical Screams’.

A monumental improvement over the amateurish but moderately satisfying demos they were putting out as Hellhammer and a height of songwriting brilliance none of their future releases would match, To Mega Therion is Celtic Frost at the height of its power. While the presence of the underwhelming interlude ‘Tears in a Prophet’s Dream’ and the general lack of catchiness might give rise to some criticism, To Mega Therion’s heady mix of violent riffing and classically-inspired embellishments still feels fresh today and will be just as fresh tomorrow so long as the world doesn’t end before then.

Ugh! - 90%

Felix 1666, December 25th, 2015
Written based on this version: 1985, 12" vinyl, Noise Records

Allow me to come straight to the point, "To Mega Therion" is the best album of Celtic Frost. Whoever claims otherwise is either a questionable creature or badly informed. Okay, I don't want to be intolerant. But in my opinion, the Swiss legend never released a more fascinating full-length. Here comes my line of argument. "To Mega Therion" is better than...

..."Into the Pandemonium", because the here presented album was highly innovative. Its successor was just the lukewarm afterburner. The gatefold cover, the artworks by H. R. Giger, the carefully thought out instrumentation with blowers and timpani, the exceptional female vocals in "Necromantical Screams" and stimulating song titles like "Dawn of Megiddo" made clear that Celtic Frost were attacking on all fronts. By contrast, "Into the Pandemonium" was riding in the slipstream of its overpowering predecessor while offering partly lame songs. Just one example. Album openers should be more or less representatives of the respective full-length. Now feel free to compare the sinister, fast-paced "The Usurper" with the ridiculous cover version that kicked off "Into the Pandemonium". No doubt, "To Mega Therion" wins the competition. However, returning to innovation, Celtic Frost did not make the mistake to put emphasis on their avant-garde approach. They just were innovative - and their discreet form of understatement showed their mature personalities.

..."Cold Lake". This needs no explanation.

..."Vanity / Nemesis", because "To Mega Therion" presents the stronger songs. Especially the tracks of the B side blow the listener's mind, naturally with the exception of the extravagant yet incomprehensible and slightly imbecile sound collage "Tears in a Prophet's Dream". But "Circle of the Tyrants" and the pumping "Fainted Eyes" are aggressive, pitch-black and shock with apocalyptic sounds that are based on pure heaviness. "(Beyond the) North Winds" needs some time to reveal its full potential, but don't underrate this stoically marching mid-tempo piece. In particular the ghostlike guitars during the up-tempo part after the second chorus left its special scent. The gigantic closer "Necromantical Screams" picks up the pompous approach of some tracks of the A side ("Innocence and Wrath" and "Dawn of Megiddo") without neglecting blackness, morbidity and heaviness. Generally speaking, the song material is outstanding. It thrives on darkness and creepiness, but it also offers an admirable degree of pioneering spirit. The entire album seems to be based on pure dedication and the will to create something new. 30 years after its release, this special flair is still present.

..."Monotheist", because this album of the 21st century has a different vibe that does not really meet my image of Celtic Frost. Born in another time, it cannot bring back the specific spirit of the early works of the band. Apart from that, "To Mega Therion" scores with a better production, at least from my subjective standpoint. The album is heavy and has its individual charm, although the guitar appears slightly awkward. It almost seems as if the guitar sound is the last relic of the old Hellhammer days. Contrariwise, the drums and the further instruments make a well defined contribution. Not to mention the vocals of Tom Warrior. He does not belong to the most virtuoso metal vocalists, but each and every word that he sings proves his charisma. Moreover, his demonic singing style fits very well with the sinister guitars and the intelligent lyrics are also noteworthy. These details aside, the album has its own character and creates a very exciting overall impression. Contrastingly, "Monotheist" is just noisy.

Hopefully, I have been successful in convincing you of the remarkable quality of this classic from 1985. If not, you should lend an ear to highlights such as "Fainted Eyes" or "Necromantical Screams". These songs deliver the best arguments. Anyway, the album deserves your attention. It has lost none of its importance since its publication. Sad but true, the vast majority of the current clowns that maltreat our ear canals will never reach the brilliance of "To Mega Therion". Ugh!

We'll never be reborn - 97%

autothrall, February 3rd, 2012

If Celtic Frost's early EPs represented a dark dungeon of forsaken pleasures, then To Mega Therion must be the opulent obsidian stronghold which covers it; the bastion of utter darkness from which its perverse overlord metes his reign upon the surrounding realms. Heavier, more consistent and more riff laden than either of its terse predecessors, it's essentially the pinnacle of creation for one of the most innovative metal acts of the 90s, ushering in an entirely new domain of exotic atmospheres and hinting at myriad possibilities for further exploration. We know in retrospect that several of its future fluctuations would succeed more than others, but To Mega Therion added a fresh, coherent sheen of midnight to not only the band's own morbid legacy, but to extreme metal in general. An opaque veil that has yet to be lifted.

Beyond this, To Mega Therion is an album I also hold dear due to its influence upon my own development on my second (and later primary) instrument, the guitar. Officially, I was studying under an instructor who thankfully customized his lessons towards my taste through a lot of hard rock tunes (Dokken, Scorpions etc), and a brief conceit to teach me "Jump in the Fire"; but in the company of my 13 year old thoughts, with an old Peavey amp in the basement and a mutant Kramer Striker, I was plugging away to the inspiration of Celtic Frost, among a few others. The slower chugging and expressive but simple power chord patterns used in Tom G. Warrior's composition provided the perfect initiation to novice thrashing. Simple to ascertain and execute with standard tuning, and heavier than most terrestrial planets, To Mega Therion was an infallible seduction to a darker musical sphere, and I can't be alone in thinking this: countless thrash, heavy, doom, black and death metal bands over the course of decades would use its content as an aesthetic blueprint for their varied careers.

Stylistically, the lion's share of the material written for the full-length does not deviate greatly from Morbid Tales and Emperor's Return. Or for that matter, Hellhammer. The focus is far greater on slower, crushing numbers in the vein of "Procreation (of the Wicked)", "Return to the Eve" and such than the hardcore-infused punk riffing prevalent on several of the EP tracks, but you can still clearly here the roots from which the Swiss legends sprung, and many of the chord patterns found on cuts like "Jewel Throne", "Eternal Summer" and "Dawn of Megiddo" clearly reflect the same balance of punctilious, primal composition with eloquent lyrical despair. Celtic Frost was always been a band aware of its technical boundaries, as far as musical ability. They weren't forcing the borders of the genre so much as their German and Bay Area contemporaries, but they took what they had and made it work, conjuring aggression through the atmosphere that the thick picking implied, to compensate for this general lack of speed...

What this album might lack in machine gun drumming and complex string wizardry, it more than makes up for in its several brilliant decisions to incorporate orchestration via the use of a French horn (Wolf Bender), shrill operatic female vocals (Claudia-Maria Mokri) and Reed St. Mark banging on a timpani in addition to his normal kit. The intro piece, "Innocence and Wrath" feels like a European answer to the classic Godzilla theme, and it's no accident: the piece instantly sets a mood for the remainder of the track list, and when the general motif returns in "Dawn of Megiddo", or culminates in the operatic chorus to "Necromantical Screams", the whole of To Mega Therion is bound together in a pervasive, drowning and depressive atmosphere that to its day was incredibly novel and immediately unforgettable. I can't say that I love all of the sparse female shrieks throughout the album. They often grate a fraction more than intended. But how many Gothic, doom and black metal bands today rely so heavily this technique in their 'beauty and the beast' interplay?

Despite its deathly demeanor, which arguably peaks in the doomed gait of "Dawn of Megiddo", To Mega Therion is not an album lacking in puerile, rampant energy. Tracks like "Jewel Throne" and "Fainted Eyes" are rife with primordial, thrashing energy and intense grooves anchored by St. Mark's muscular throughput. I'm not trying to advocate for the jock mosh sect, which has transformed through the decades from an innocent and mutual release of testosterone to alpha male preening, but if you can't sway your fists (or at least your head) to the riff set of "Jewel Throne", it's likely you just hate thrash metal. Walk away, man. Just walk away. To boot, this is one of the tracks which accelerates itself, culminating in some of the punk pacing of their earlier releases. "Circle of the Tyrants" was also drafted to this album from the Emperor's Return EP, and while I have maintained a slight preference towards the original, the brighter, raw treatment here fits well into its neighbors. Another example of how the album can shelf its weighty Gothic atmosphere to flex some brute strength at the audience. Yet another: Dominic Steiner's loud bass chords during "Necromantical Screams".

Tom's vocals are superb here, and arguably the best they've ever felt on any of the full-lengths. Dark, tense, and cumbersome, his accent and timbre barking out the dark prose like the noblest of savages. An exception might be the bonus studio jam "Return of the Eve", on which the vocals are so heavily effected that they can feel as silly as they are charming, but this was not a core component of the original album and thus easily brushed off. What's more, the lyrics retain the serious nature of the earlier works. Slayer was singing about Satan and psycho killers, Venom about Satan and cocaine, Destruction about Satan and the meat packing industry, but there was something so ominous, grandiose and mature about Celtic Frost's paeans to avarice, pride, and the lessons inherent in the occult and mythology. The sequential, conceptual bindings of "The Usurper", "Jewel Throne" are also interesting. Once again, a huge source of inspiration, this time for tens of thousands of black metal bands to follow (notably Emperor and the earlier Darkthrone canon).

All this aside, I must admit that I have never found The Mega Therion to be the most flawless of jewels. A huge part of this is that I don't really care for the instrumental "Tears in a Prophet's Dream", an electro/ritual/ambient track which feels even less coherent than "Danse Macabre" on the Morbid Tales EP. It's not that I don't appreciate Celtic Frost's desire to experiment, but the random bass chortling, percussion and goofy wails here have always conspired to take me straight out of the experience. It seems like they threw it together and placed it on the album just because 'they could' rather than to pursue an honest artistic abstraction from the metal surroundings. Thankfully, the track that follows "Necromantical Screams" is so damned good, or "Tears..." would seem even more of a souring anticlimax. Otherwise, a few of the shrill vocals and the fact that "Circle of the Tyrants" feels mildly redundant being here would be the only nitpicks I could launch against this timeless behemoth, and for the latter...I will begrudgingly admit that, as one of their best songs, it belonged on a full-length so more could hear it.

Coverage of this staggering monstrosity could never be complete without a nod to the choice in cover art. Though Geiger's Satan I had been originally conceived in the 70s, it was the perfect match for Frost's ungodly lyrical explorations. The cynical, sacrilege of its imagery would prove iconic to generations of metal fans, atheists, occultists, and it was also nice of Warrior to 'keep it in the family' (aka country) by collaborating with the Swiss surrealist. What's more, it to me represents that Celtic Frost wanted to hint at a wider range of classicism and art beyond the metal spectrum, almost as if they were prompting the audience to smarten up, expand ourselves and look further into other fields of depth and vision (a tactic they'd repeat with the use of the Hieronymous Bosch painting for Into the Pandemonium). I'm sure for many of us, it worked. By extension, so does the album. As grim an enlightenment as nearly anything that came out of this formative, important period in aural extremes, and in my opinion, one of the best Swiss works in the entire genre (excepting only Coroner's 1988-89 masterworks and Samael's underrated Passage, all of which are of course either related to or directly inspired by this very band).


Grotesque glory from a time when steel ruled. - 99%

Sigillum_Dei_Ameth, August 7th, 2011

Celtic Frost's second album is nothing short of a masterpiece considering it was their first full-length LP if you don't count the fact that "Morbid Tales" was only an E.P. that was re-issued with the classic "Emperor's Return" E.P. in order to make it seem like a full-length LP. In fact it's nothing short of brilliant; the musical equivalent of Conan the Barbarian. An ancient warrior in a distant land taking everything with might, power, and projecting fear and respect to all whom cross it's path. Basically this is Celtic Frost at their finest. Yeah this may be argumented amongst other metal fans but it's almost like saying which of the first 3 Venom or Bathory albums are the best? Celtic Frost were one of those bands that gave birth to a genre and their first few burnt offerings to it's bestial summoning were nothing short of a combination of energy, youth, testosterone, and the mischievous dabblings with the dark side.

First off: the artwork. Celtic Frost always had an eye for something that would stand-out and make their records matter in the eyes of metal heads. Regardless of what you might think of the music in it's brutal simplicity....they knew what artwork meant. I mean; heptagrams, H.R. Giger, Hieronymus Bosch, demons, skulls. "Le childish satanic musings. You do not know art young child. Come and listen to more sophisticated modern-day music for 20-something year olds who have ironic French mustaches and smoke cheap cigarettes that your grandfather even found appalling back in the day." Fuck off. Go listen to Owl City or some shit like that. I say give me more heptagrams, H.R. Giger, etc.etc. A nasty looking rusted green and white demon with skull-faced snakes and black crosses surrounded it while holding the figure of Jesus in a mocking and ironic way like a slingshot? The great beast it just might not be, but the audio essence of youth gone wild and still rebelling for all it's worth. Brilliant.

Sound wise this is more more clearer than "Morbid Tales" and almost rawer than that as well. Again, there's a reason why I pick this over "Morbid Tales" as far as the DEFINITE Celtic Frost album to own in your music collection. Even with a clearer sound, Celtic frost have retained that rawness of their unique mid-paced Sabbath/blackened-thrashing-doom guitar tone from fucking hell, and made it much more razor sharp on "To Mega Therion." For 1985, this is fucking extreme. It still IS extreme, but I'm talking specifically for that year. Yes 1985 also had "Seven Churches", and "Infernal Overkill," but those were more based on speed. Celtic frost, again, were more about the blow behind the punch. And the blow pretty much blew every all the metal out of their fan's heads that year.....still to this day.

Then there are the songs themselves. They have them. Lots of 'em. The intro "Innocence & Wrath" is exactly what I was saying about youth, energy, testosterone and Connan The Barbarian? Yeah, that's the epic-like intro intoducing the gladiators before they step into the ring, or announcing the Hunns coming out of the cave. You have glorious tales such as "Jewel Throne" wtih that main chugging downtuned riff from hell, the always classic and seizure-inducing "Circle of The Tyrants" which calls to the likes of Genghis Khan, and the chilling/freezing "Necromantical Screams." Then there are others songs which is what made Celtic Frost such an entity in the Metal universe which what mades these songs come to life; songs like "Eternal Summer", "Dawn of Meggido", "(Beyond) the North Winds" where these are basic extensions and more colors to the pallet that gave their creations such a life of their own. Even though by the time their next album their music would start to reminiscent of the album artwork they put on their LP sleeves, for now this is simply one of the best examples of an album taking you out of your everyday situation and letting your mind drift to a world where it's pure dungeons and dragons in the best of ways. Even the other instrumental "Tears In A Prophet's Eyes" were not only what I just mentioned but also an excellent example of a band not backing down from the hunt and will to conquer uncharted territory. Even the lyrics to some of these songs are nothing short of inspiring:

"On days of northern wind, (past) illusions surround my dreams
Drops of mute oceans breath in the palm of my hand
The sound of silent waves still caresses all my thoughts
Where warm, mystic floods dominated the upper hemisphere" - "(Beyond) the Northern Winds"

or this little diddy:

"Once prayed to my gods, searching for the whistled memories
Empty eyes are staring now, to my feet a land of sorrow
I'm the king, sitting in the dark hiding from the shadows of the wind
Wafts of might, wine of fire, I was called to taste" - Jewel Throne

Tom G. Warrior and company weren't fucking around when it came to trying to give his fans something just to listen to, but to read into and again expanding their imaginations.

Much like the great Mongolian conqueror Genghis Khan, Celtic Frost's greatest good fortune came from chasing their enemy of mediocrity and anything that did not deliver heaviness. They seized Metal's slaves and possessed their minds with tales of victory and defeat, and they also left their followers weeping and wailing in the end..."To Mega Therion" is still to this day is like an everlasting shadow in the Metal universe.

Between pure majesty and mediocrity - 80%

kluseba, August 5th, 2011

There are some things I don't understand in the metal world and one of those things is the popularity and the high ratings of this record. Let's say that the debut album of the Swiss metal legend is not bad at all. It has its own style but the record is far from being a legendary milestone as there are too many similar filler tracks on the record. Celtic Frost play some technically well done blackened thrash here. Even though the artwork is great, the lyrics are intriguing and the sound quality is very underground, the band fails to establish a gripping atmosphere. In the black metal scene, the first works of "Bathory", "Emperor" or "Moonspell" sounded way more addicting, the death metal scene had some great potential with the first releases of "Death", "Therion" or "Amorphis" and the world of thrash has seen the great debut records of "Metallica", "Voivod" and "Overkill". Every of the mentioned records has more style and charm than the first steps of Celtic Frost no matter if those records came before or after this one. There is still a lot of potential in this record that is worth your time, patience and attention. I might underline that this is a very good and interesting album and surely an influential piece of metal music. But it is no masterpiece or milestone because it has too many mediocre parts next to the pure genius that can also be found in here.

With the great instrumental "Tears In A Prophet 's Dream" and the closing album highlight "Necromential Screams", the band proves us that they had the potential to create an atmospheric and gripping milestone. The songs are filled with great sound effects and a lot of black atmosphere. They have surely influenced some of the bands mentioned above without a doubt but they copied the pioneers in a more consistent way.
The problems don't start in the beginnings of the record though but can rather be found in the middle of the album. "Innocence And Wrath" is a great instrumental introductions that leads to a great straight opener called "The Usurper" that has a lot of diversity and energy at the same time.

But "Jewel Throne" has almost the same style as this song and may be a solid banger but nothing truly addicting and outstanding. The problem is that there are at least three or four other songs of that kind on the record that somewhat destroy the efforts of the more elaborated and atmospheric tracks. I may even include the overrated and well known "Circle Of The Tyrants" to that same mediocre category. They are great live tracks, have a lot of energy and some riff variation plus good though not excellent guitar solos. On the other hand, they don't nearly have the same of majesty as the opening and closing tracks as well as "Dawn of Meggido" and remain rather one-dimensional bangers with lots of rather ridicolous signature "Hey!" and "Uh!" shouts in most of those songs. One or two of them may be acceptable but there are a too much of them on this short album. Especially as they are almost all in one row and not placed between the more epic tracks to give us a break. Their is really a heavy downfall of quality in the middle of this album.

One of the hidden highlights on this record is the following "Dawn of Meggido" which is an atmospheric doom metal track that adds a lot of heart and soul to the album again and is easily one of my favourite tracks in here. The orchestral middle part is innovating and reminds me of brilliant horror movie scores. That's an element that would have fit to more songs on this record and would have add something special to the album.

That's why this album seems in the end quite schizophrenic to me. It is divided into atmospheric, majestic and innovating tracks one side and straight filler songs to bang your head to on the other side in quite equal parts. I really adore the first face of the band whiel the second one is not all bad but simply not as outstanding and engaging as many fans claim. In the end, this record is still an important album for three different metal genres and the innovating parts are truly inspiring and innovating. But as this level can't be kept on the length of the entire album, I would not call this record a masterpiece as it lacks of coherence in the end and I only truly enjoy about twenty of the fourty minutes in here. That's why I think the album is slightly overrated.

The Days Have Come - 98%

Arjunthebeast, January 29th, 2011

Within the maelstrom beyond the edge of the universe described within its lyrics, a blackened cosmic tryst between Uranus the sky god and a dark mattered succubus resulted in this illegitimate monster that no one would claim but the mighty but broken homed child Tom Warrior and his compatriots many eons later. Some even say that these two beings might be one in the same; the son without a father becomes his own father! And like the final Olympian grandchild of Uranus, they sought revenge against their ghost fathers for their sins. The beast, forced to bring itself up upon the frozen depths of starless space, eventually found its way to earth. It watched humanity devour itself and drew near the kindred darkness within our cursed hearts. Learning of what lay beyond death; it crystallized into this reminder, not unlike the golden record that sits within Voyager I and II, as something that summarizes our condemnation to the depths.

The words of Therion/Warrior speak of truly dark things, for they could know no other but such a truth. Towers fall to dust and man falls into flame. Nostalgia is erased as the deep sorrow and frailness of the old takes its place. The protagonists and antagonists both rot and tremble within their halls upon darkthrones. Even in their desire to know the unknowable and escape the endless curse of death and rebirth, they cannot resist the swiping pendulum that levels both monuments and solar bodies. Their dark armies pale and falter as the nightmares of prophets and the sorrow of dying elders reveal only approaching catastrophe. As the monster warns with staggering eloquence “for no one who knows tries to reappear” and seek to take part in the horror that they left behind.

The howls of despair and anger of the forsaken sons strike with hurricane force while human allies Reed St. Mark and Dominic Steiner channel such light-bereft doom into colossal and dusty rhythms. Warrior brings the potential of the electric guitar to fruition as purely blunt rhythmic weapon of war; battering and crashing down the gates of that which came before. Like mighty hammers crashing down upon dirty helmets in its slowest and most monolithic moments, it grinds the earth and stars beneath skeleton tank treads. At times we hear the sounds of battle that echo from deep within history, drums many times the size of any modern beast are beaten upon by dark stone giants. Huge battle horns bellow, reversing the flow of the wind. When the Usurper charges all hell breaks loose and we hear every stamping footstep and galloping hoof beating musical fury unheard of before those hallowed times. Like then thousand typhoons they crash against the grain of your mind.

When the cacophony subsides for a time to open the nightmares of aforementioned prophet, we see that under the ceaseless destruction the empathy and tears shed for the coming end. Sounds coaxed from the modern electronics gives us an idea of the horrors that drive such men to madness. The Original Child Bomb blasts while shocks of bass driven psychosis shred the minds of the survivors. Laughing human devils exceed their mythical counterparts with effortless glee. Chants of newly formed death cults bring forth hell’s inhabitants. Cries of pain and ecstasy mingle until they become inseparable from one another. How can one not share tears with this poor soul? And then the finale arrives, bringing another of life’s many shivers up your spine.

Many young people who came across the newly fossilized remains of the creature 25 years ago tried with varying levels of success to replicate it and pay blood tribute. They tried to build upon the crumbled suits of armor and tattered flags of memory; memories before the birth of all beings who came before. All in this upstart genre of human rejects and lost children. Countless worship the sounds of this record and the other works of Hellhammer and Celtic Frost and heeded the warnings. Some sought orthodoxy while others refined and pushed the remnants of the dark spawn further and further. Those who succeeded are in turn worshiped by the new heirs to the sound.

Following my forbearers, I, another acolyte in search of such texts and swarms of sound came to partake in its still fountain 20 years after its fossilization. It was far beyond anything my teenage ears had listened to until that time, even its precursor and herald Morbid Tales, in terms of extremity. Like those who seek out darker and deeper relics of the time before birth, I wanted to belong to something beyond what was expected of listeners of music. There would be no turning back after this point. The tides of steel are pulled by works like this one, along with the other great masters of the time. I feel moments of great joy when I hear the traces of this record in newer monuments to the sad monster and his human form, the chugging of crying battle engines and grunts of load bearing souls. True and intelligent poetry is to be found here. If you do not know, then you must.

The Citizen Kane of Extreme Metal Albums - 96%

blackthrash84, July 26th, 2009

I'll admit right away I've yet to see the film Citizen Kane, but every way in which I've heard it described, praised and criticized - as well as it's historic significance - correlates perfectly to C.F.'s masterpiece full length. Long, boring, monotonous, excessive, innovative, original, unique, genre-defining, classic. These are all adjectives that come to mind when discussing either work. The only real difference lies in the scope of each piece's influence. But is influencing the entire extreme metal world really that far from influencing the entire world of film? I like to think not.

With this album Tom G. and friends really refined the Celtic Frost sound. With these guys every album is like a new band, and I believe that's how Tom wanted it. While Morbid Tales (which I consider more an album than an ep) showed more avant-garde tendencies and thrashing than their previous work in Hellhammer, the raw, youthful and evil energy remained. All that happened was their songs were intricately structured and their musicianship was greatly honed. On "To Mega Therion" they left their youthful energetics behind and concentrated on furthering their art, and hence that of every extreme metal band to follow.

The crisp, clear production on this record gives the music a cold and crushing effect. In the intro you instantly hear that every instrument has piles of reverb on it. The guitar tone is less dirty than on "Tales" but much thicker and damn sludgy.

The opening instrumental feels like a great weight being dropped on you, that of all the world's pain and suffering. Once you've accepted this weight "The Usurper" knocks you flat on your back and begins dragging you on a tour through mankind's downfalls.

"Jewel Throne" shows the sorrow that comes with decadence and the rapid road to destruction it leads us on. The "Dawn of Meggido" is the apocalypse and with heavy fucking doom riffs and atmosphere the Frost paints the barren landscape for our obliteration. Flawless. "Eternal Summer" reminds us of buried kingdoms, one of which we've become. Top notch thrashing is had in the after-world and Tom's solo evokes the burning clouds he speaks of in the lyrics.

"Circle of Tyrants" kicks off side two by re-iterating that all is lost (in case the first five songs didn't give you that message). However, humans go on, in total ignorance of the past and rape of the earth and each other. This song makes you wonder if this album wasn't just Tom having a "heavy-ass song" writing competition with himself. "(Beyond) the North Winds" is a personal fave for that sweet opening riff and the, perhaps, more sublime lyrical content, with just enough nihilism on top. Did Tom even know what he was saying when he wrote "Fainted Eyes" ("the waters grow dumb"!)? It's a good thing this song is heavy as fuck too.

"Tears in a Prophet's Dream" keeps with the great tradition of freaky avant-garde ambient track right before the last song on the album. And what a song. I don't know about everyone else but the one thing that excited me most about getting this album was hearing "Necromantical Screams". I knew this had to contain riffs from "Buried and Forgotten", that crazy Hellhammer song. And this one so out does it! This was surely one of the heaviest. darkest, doom-i-est songs of '85. And just like everywhere else on the album, the use of female operatic vocals is wonderfully enhancing.

C.F. really took a more unique and direct tone on this album, dropping all occult imagery for their overwhelmingly bleak apocalyptic visions. Few albums have since captured these sentiments as poetically, if any.

The true beauty of Celtic Frost lay in their other-worldliness. It's very hard to believe that this stuff wasn't written/played by some grimacing sentient beings, like Lovecraft's "Older Ones". Or maybe just Lovecraft himself, although I highly doubt he could touch any riff Tom G. Warrior wrote.

Don't come to this looking for "Morbid Tales II", but DO NOT ignore this album. Thomas Gabriel Warrior was arguably the most important guitarist to extreme metal in his reign and this was his masterstroke. I'm certain that the Celts only got their Frost back on "Monotheist" from listening to their old records, this in particular. This album managed to write the rules for all black, death and doom metal to come without following any of them. Warrior saw heaviness as a momentous force in modern music and he never followed any trends because of this.

BUY OR DIE! and give "Into the Pandemonium" and "Vanity/Nemesis" a chance too.


It's power will possess you! - 100%

shantanupatni1991, February 8th, 2009

To Mega Therion, the first full length by Celtic Frost, a band whose influence and significance in the extreme metal scene no one can question or deny. Alongside bands like Slayer and Venom, their contribution to the genre is the most notable and cardinal.

It’s just amazing how anyone can come up with such acrimonious and apoplectic music and still not look dry or repetitive. Thomas Gabriel is a riff machine; he comes up with such demonic stuff and gives new tunes out like he’s running a shop. Another reason why this is not like those monotonous thrash albums is the frequent tempo fluctuations and alternations which help in capturing the essence and feel of this album. Not only has this pioneered thrash, death and black, its doomy sections are worth a mention as well.

The one minute opener is like a chilly warning for the storm of madness which follows it. It gives a glimpse of the dark and gloomy nature of this release. The sheer ferocity of their relentlessly violent yet artistic music manifests and exhibits their talent & competence. Every single song following the one minute “mood setter” is evidence of their skills and expertise. But the last track, Necromantical Screams, is the evilest of them all. You find yourself caught in the nefarious atmosphere, possessed by its power, obeying its orders, for it is a force so divine, you are worthless in front of it. All you can do, and all you should do, is follow it.


TiredOfBeingAlive, June 25th, 2007

With the revival of the Classic Goth/Thrash metal band Celtic Frost, we here at Heavy Metal Reviews thought it would be fitting to review their finest platter of music, To Mega Therion. Here you go!

To Mega Therion is a CLASSIC album if there ever was one. Casual thrash fans might find this album repetative, but those are the shallow/shit metal fans. This album delivers on crushing Slayer-esque blows and riffs that leave you wetting yourself again and again.

Tom Warrior's vocals are absolutely outstanding. They're the same type you'd expect from any Slayer album, but he sounds nothing like Tom Araya, if you can make that connection.

The album is heavy on gothic overtones aswell. Plenty of heavy, and I mean HEAVY thundering drums that seem to ring out into eternity. A couple Sabbath-esque riffs and Sab speed songs also keep you interested. The guitar sound is the exact same on all of the songs, but that just adds to Frost's signature sound.

Hard to believe this 3-piece band could put out such killer shit! (Then again, look at Motorhead, they're no slouches either!)

This truely is a classic and if you don't pick it up, you'll be missing out on one of the greatest thrash metal albums of the 80s. It ranks right up there with Master of Puppets (Metallica), The Legacy (Testament), Fabulous Disaster (Exodus), Peace Sells (Megadeth), and Reign in Blood (Slayer).